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Selfish vs. Self Centered: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Huma Saeed || Published on December 2, 2023
Selfish refers to prioritizing one's own needs over others, while self-centered denotes an excessive preoccupation with oneself, often disregarding others.

Key Differences

Selfish behavior involves actively prioritizing one's own needs and desires above those of others. It often manifests in actions taken to benefit oneself, sometimes at the expense of others. Self-centered, on the other hand, is a broader character trait where a person's thoughts and concerns are primarily about themselves, often leading to a lack of interest or awareness of the needs and feelings of others.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023
People who are selfish make decisions and act in ways that serve their own interests. This can include ignoring the needs and wellbeing of others when it conflicts with their own goals. Self-centered individuals may not always act selfishly, but their world view is focused on themselves, making it hard for them to consider perspectives or needs outside their own.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023
The concept of selfishness can be seen in actions like hoarding resources or making choices that harm others for personal gain. Self-centeredness is more about a person's mindset, such as constantly talking about oneself, or always steering conversations back to their own experiences, often unintentionally.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 02, 2023
Selfish actions are usually deliberate and calculated to achieve a specific benefit for oneself. In contrast, being self-centered can be an unconscious behavior, not necessarily intended to harm others but often resulting in a lack of empathy or understanding of others' perspectives.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023
A selfish person may occasionally show concern for others if it aligns with their own interests, while a self-centered individual may struggle to recognize when their focus on themselves is excluding or hurting others, as their perspective is deeply ingrained in their personality.
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Focus

Gains for oneself
Personal perspective
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Impact on Others

Often negative, as it involves taking from others
May be neutral or negative, as it involves ignoring others
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Awareness

Aware of others, chooses self
Often unaware of others
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Intent

Deliberate for self-benefit
Not always deliberate, more of a trait
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Changeability

Can be situational
Typically a consistent personality trait
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023
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Selfish and Self Centered Definitions

Selfish

Prioritizing one's own needs over others.
He was considered selfish for eating the last piece of cake without offering it to anyone else.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Self Centered

Preoccupied with oneself and one's own affairs.
His self-centered conversation always revolved around his own achievements.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Selfish

Showing disregard for the well-being of others.
She selfishly spoke over her colleagues to get her point across.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Self Centered

Having an internal focus, often to the exclusion of external perspectives.
His self-centered worldview prevented him from understanding different cultures.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Selfish

Acting to increase one's own welfare at the expense of others.
His selfish manipulation of the situation gained him an unfair advantage.
Huma Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Self Centered

Exhibiting little consideration for others.
Her self-centered attitude made it difficult for her to empathize with her friends.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Selfish

Being chiefly concerned with one's own personal profit or pleasure.
His selfish decision to go on vacation alone upset his family.
Huma Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Self Centered

Thinking only of one's own needs and interests.
He was so self-centered that he never noticed his roommate's struggles.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Selfish

Lacking consideration for others.
Her selfish refusal to share her notes left her classmates struggling.
Huma Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Self Centered

Focused on one's own emotions, desires, and concerns.
She was so self-centered that she couldn't see the problems her friends were facing.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Selfish

Concerned chiefly or excessively with oneself, and having little regard for others
A selfish child who wouldn't share toys.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Self Centered

Engrossed in oneself and one's own affairs; selfish.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Selfish

Showing or arising from an excessive concern with oneself and a lack of concern for others
A selfish whim.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Self Centered

Egotistically obsessed with oneself.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Selfish

The present quote doesn't illustrate the meaning very well.Holding one's own self-interest as the standard for decision making.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Self Centered

Concerned or relating to the self, and not necessarily the greater good of one's group, community, tribe, etc.; individualistic.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Selfish

Having regard for oneself above others’ well-being.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Self Centered

Centered in itself, or in one's self.
There hangs the ball of earth and water mixt,Self-centered and unmoved.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Selfish

(video game characters) Relying on their own actions and capabilities to be effective in the game, rather than on other characters.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Self Centered

Interested solely or primiarily in oneself, or one's own welfare; disinclined to consider the interests of others; selfish; egotistical.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Selfish

Caring supremely or unduly for one's self; regarding one's own comfort, advantage, etc., in disregard, or at the expense, of those of others.
They judge of things according to their own private appetites and selfish passions.
In that throng of selfish hearts untrue.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Self Centered

Limited to or caring only about yourself and your own needs
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Selfish

Believing or teaching that the chief motives of human action are derived from love of self.
Hobbes and the selfish school of philosophers.
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Selfish

Concerned chiefly or only with yourself;
Selfish men were...trying to make capital for themselves out of the sacred cause of civil rights
Huma Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

FAQs

Are selfish people aware of their behavior?

Selfish individuals are often aware of their behavior but prioritize their own needs.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Can self-centeredness lead to loneliness?

Yes, self-centeredness can lead to loneliness due to a lack of meaningful connections with others.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 02, 2023

Is selfishness a learned behavior?

Selfishness can be both a learned behavior and a result of innate personality traits.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 02, 2023

Can selfishness be positive?

In moderation, selfishness can be positive for self-care and setting boundaries.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 02, 2023

Is being selfish always negative?

While often viewed negatively, selfishness can sometimes be necessary for self-preservation.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Is self-centeredness a form of narcissism?

Self-centeredness can be a trait of narcissism, but not all self-centered people are narcissists.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Can self-centeredness affect relationships?

Yes, self-centeredness can strain relationships due to a lack of attention to others' needs.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Can a self-centered person be generous?

Yes, a self-centered person can display generosity, but their focus remains primarily on themselves.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Are all selfish acts intentional?

Not all selfish acts are intentional; some may be unconscious reactions to certain situations.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Do self-centered people lack empathy?

Self-centered individuals may have difficulty showing empathy due to their internal focus.
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Can self-centered people change?

Yes, with self-awareness and effort, self-centered people can learn to consider others more.
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Does selfishness always harm others?

While often harmful, selfishness does not always negatively impact others and can sometimes be neutral.
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Are selfish and self-centered synonymous?

While related, they are not synonymous; selfishness is an action, while self-centeredness is a trait.
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Is selfish behavior influenced by culture?

Yes, cultural norms and values can influence perceptions and expressions of selfish behavior.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Is there a difference between being self-centered and egocentric?

Yes, while similar, egocentricity involves seeing everything in relation to oneself, which is more extreme than self-centeredness.
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Are children naturally self-centered?

Children are often naturally self-centered, but they typically develop more awareness of others as they grow.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Can self-centered behavior be unconscious?

Yes, self-centered behavior can be an unconscious habit or personality trait.
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023

Can selfishness be a survival mechanism?

In some situations, selfishness can be a survival mechanism, prioritizing personal safety and needs.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Is self-centeredness linked to immaturity?

Self-centeredness can be linked to emotional immaturity, but not exclusively.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Can therapy help reduce selfish behavior?

Therapy can be effective in addressing and reducing selfish behavior, especially if it stems from deeper issues.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023
About Author
Written by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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